Field deployable processing methods for stay-in-place ultrasonic transducers

Nathan Malarich, Cliff J. Lissenden, Bernhard R. Tittmann

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


Condition monitoring provides key data for managing the operation and maintenance of mechanical equipment in the power generation, chemical processing, and manufacturing industries. Ultrasonic transducers provide active monitoring capabilities by wall thickness measurements, elastic property determination, crack detection, and other means. In many cases the components operate in harsh environments that may include high temperature, radiation, and hazardous chemicals. Thus, it is desirable to have permanently affixed ultrasonic transducers for condition monitoring in harsh environments. Spray-on transducers provide direct coupling between the active element and the substrate, and can be applied to curved surfaces. We describe a deposition methodology for ultrasonic transducers that can be applied in the field. First, piezoceramic powders mixed into a sol-gel are air-spray deposited onto the substrate. Powder constituents are selected based on the service environment in which the condition monitoring will be performed. Then the deposited coating is pyrolyzed and partially densified using an induction heating system with a custom work coil designed to match the substrate geometry. The next step, applying the electrodes, is more challenging than might be expected because of the porosity of the piezoelectric coating and the potential reactivity of elements in the adjacent layers. After connecting lead wires to the electrodes the transducer is poled and a protective coating can be applied prior to use. Processing of a PZT-bismuth titanate transducer on a large steel substrate is described along with alternate methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication44th Annual Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation, Volume 37
EditorsDale E. Chimenti, Leonard J. Bond
PublisherAmerican Institute of Physics Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9780735416444
StatePublished - Apr 20 2018
Event44th Annual Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation, QNDE 2017 - Provo, United States
Duration: Jul 16 2017Jul 21 2017

Publication series

NameAIP Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0094-243X
ISSN (Electronic)1551-7616


Other44th Annual Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation, QNDE 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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